Presented as part of Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a seven-month, citywide retrospective featuring theater, poetry, music concerts and humanities events curated and produced by MAPP International Productions through a major partnership of 17 cultural and educational institutions.
Sekou Sundiata was a prolific New York City poet, performer and teacher who articulated a keen observation of sociopolitical issues and deftly wove them into the body of his work. Known to frequently collaborate with and be inspired by dynamic women throughout his career, SummerStage’s longstoryshort: Remixed part of the city-wide Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited retrospective curated and produced by MAPP International Productions, celebrates his idea of the influential female muse through the performances of three commanding female artists: Nona Hendryx, Sandra St. Victor and Toshi Reagon, all known for their powerful voices as well as their socially relevant lyrics. These artists will perform their own work as well as selections from Sundiata’s last CD, longstoryshort. The show will also be punctuated throughout with performances from cutting edge poets performing some of Sundiata’s classic works and new pieces inspired by his artistic legacy.
Nona Hendryx’s legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Longtime Hendryx fans know her as one of the founding members of the Doo-Wop girl group, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. When the British invasion of Rock & Roll took over, the Bluebelles grew afros and reinvented themselves as the iconic Funk group, Labelle, which racked up three gold albums and a #1 worldwide platinum hit with the single, “Lady Marmalade” before disbanding in 1977. Hendryx fans would welcome the split, as she embarked upon an impressive solo career, spanning eight albums, several top ten hits and a GRAMMY nomination. Her albums remained edgy; provocative and full of double entendres, with hits including “Bustin’ Out” and “Why Should I Cry?”. In 2012, Hendryx released Mutatis Mutandis, a CD that has both politically and socially relevant lyrics wrapped in funky grooves, soulful vocals, and driven by rock charged rhythms.
Recognized for her multi-faceted artistry and vocal prowess, singer-songwriter Sandra St. Victor has been captivating audiences with her fusion of R&B, Rock, Gospel and Jazz for over two decades. First as a member of the innovative trio, The Family Stand, who’s 1990 release, Chain included the international hit, “Ghetto Heaven;” then as a solo soulstress via her albums, Mack Diva Saves The World and Gemini: Both Sides. As a songwriter, St. Victor has co-written with the best, including Prince, Chaka Khan and The Temptations, earning her 2 GRAMMY Nominations. Via timeless songwriting, moving performances and a heart wrenching duet with Curtis Mayfield released on his final recording, New World Order, St. Victor has become established as a barrier-breaking musical trendsetter whose unique artistry puts her in a category of her very own.
Toshi Reagon, a singer-songwriter guitarist, has moved audiences of all kinds with her big-hearted, hold-nothing-back approach to Rock, Blues, R&B, Country, Folk, Spirituals and Funk. Reagon is a one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive and uplifting in American music. The New York Times described her blend as “…a love of mixing things up…[her] vocal style ranges from a dirty blues moan to a gospel shout to an ethereal croon.” Her live performances, in particular, aren’t just accessible; they’re irresistible. Some of Reagon’s proudest accomplishments include playing at Madison Square Garden, and the White House in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Reagon was also one of several women honored by the National Women’s History Project for “amazing intelligence, talent, courage and tenacity [that testify] to the myriad ways that generations of women have moved history forward.”
Appropriate for: All Ages